scott lee

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Critique of Intellectual Property. Have too many powers been handed over in the name of Intellectual property?

I started this conversation because the last conversation about rethinking intellectual property turned into a debate about piracy and the media.

However, intellectual property is a broader topic that spans far more issues than how you listen to your music.

Software companies aren't just allowed to sell their product, and we aren't just forbidden from copying it. They are allowed to keep their source code secret and we are forbidden from knowing what is actually running on our computers. What does that mean for privacy now and in the future?

Biotech companies are not just allowed to patent genomes. They are allowed to keep the actual DNA sequences a secret. They are allowed to withhold that information, and the product itself from the scientific community. This impairs research in to the safety of GMOs as well as research into the functioning of life at a molecular level.

Pharmaceutical companies do their trials, the results of which are their intellectual property until they choose to submit them to the authorities.

Licensing is becoming a more common form of sale, which is essentially allowing private control deeper into the scientific community and ultimately our homes. There was a time when the rules of ownership were determined in the legislature, now they are determined by lawyers and written into licenses with little oversight or limitations.

Science is based on the process of peer review, which depends on sharing information. Unfortunately, to a greater and greater extent that information is owned, withheld and ultimately secret.

If we have to use the computers, take the medicine and eat the GMOs, don't we have a right to know the information on which our health and privacy depend.

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    Feb 25 2012: The GMO's should not be allowed to patent "EVOLVED/Naturally assisted" dna/seeds.Theres no argument in the world that can be used to justify it as dna has been on the planet alot longer than the first corporation which was created in 17th century europe.Who owns the banna?The potatoe?The sweet potatoe?,people should look into this as one day you decide to have a go at growing your own only to find you can't use any other type of seed other than the GMO's seed because that's all there is at your local plant shop?I think there is only four types of potatoes grown in the states at the moment? considering 100 years before there was on average 95 types in use,crop diversity is the key not gene enhancement of only a set number,we're shooting ourselves in the foot.

    I'm not against gene enhancement but i don't like knowing i'am eating something that was designed to produce a certain toxin so it could withstand a chemical spray that is genetically dangerous to us.
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      Mar 3 2012: People can claim "breeders rights" on plants that have been altered through breeding. It acts like a patent. I know someone who enforces those rights. He goes around and inspects apple trees to see if people are growing a variety that is owned. Some breeders actually make pretty good money.

      My problem with the GMO intellectual property system is the ability biotech companies have to control the research into that organism. It makes it hard for scientists that genuinely want to see if GMO's are safe,
  • Feb 25 2012: Yup. Those in power have show that they are very poor stewards of knowledge and the Internet is pushing up the level of transparency despite efforts to suppress knowledge sharing.

    Address two fundamental questions - What is intellectual? - What is property? They are concepts, not reality, and very recent concepts at that.